Watson's Afterward Concerning Rosalind Franklin

All of these people, should they desire, can indicate events and details they remember differently. But there is one unfortunate exception. In 1958, Rosalind Franklin died at the early age of thirty-seven. Since my initial impressions of her, both scientific and personal (as recorded in the early pages of this book), were often wrong, I want to say something here about her achievements. The X-ray work she did at King's is increasingly regarded as superb. The sorting out of the A and B forms, by itse1f, would have made her reputation; even better was her 1952 demonstration, using Patterson superposition methods, that the phosphate groups must be on the outside of the DNA molecule. Later, when she moved to Bemal's lab, she took up work on tobacco mosaic virus and quickly extended our qualitative ideas about helical construction into a precise quantitative picture, definitely establishing the essential helical parameters and locating the ribonucleic chain halfway out from the central axis.

Because I was then teaching in the States, I did not see her as often as did Francis, to whom she frequently came for advice or when she had done something very pretty, to be sure he agreed with her reasoning. By then all traces of our early bickering were forgotten, and we both came to appreciate greatly her personal honesty and generosity, realizing years too late the struggles that the intelligent woman faces to be accepted by a scientific world which often regards women as mere diversions from serious thinking. Rosalind's exemplary courage and integrity were apparent to all when, knowing she was mortally ill, she did not complain but continued working on a high level until a few weeks before her death.


Is it wrong to consider him a sexist, when he corrects his perceptions of her earlier in the text, and in the afterword admits he didn't understand the struggles of women scientists.

Folksonomies: history science feminism sexism

/technology and computing/programming languages/c and c++ (0.572724)
/technology and computing/hardware/computer peripherals/printers, copiers and fax/scanners (0.482828)
/society/social institution/marriage (0.408317)

Rosalind Franklin (0.996034 (negative:-0.486662)), Patterson superposition methods (0.848102 (neutral:0.000000)), ribonucleic chain halfway (0.835845 (positive:0.407218)), essential helical parameters (0.823405 (positive:0.407218)), precise quantitative picture (0.805498 (positive:0.268460)), tobacco mosaic virus (0.790555 (positive:0.268459)), unfortunate exception (0.643691 (negative:-0.812761)), early bickering (0.601085 (negative:-0.448855)), mere diversions (0.600872 (neutral:0.000000)), helical construction (0.600591 (positive:0.268460)), initial impressions (0.595948 (neutral:0.000000)), phosphate groups (0.594067 (neutral:0.000000)), exemplary courage (0.592745 (positive:0.463709)), early age (0.584985 (negative:-0.364523)), DNA molecule (0.584642 (neutral:0.000000)), early pages (0.580522 (neutral:0.000000)), X-ray work (0.579513 (positive:0.485886)), personal honesty (0.578330 (positive:0.400288)), qualitative ideas (0.577797 (positive:0.268459)), central axis (0.574552 (positive:0.407218)), intelligent woman (0.568384 (neutral:0.000000)), high level (0.565952 (negative:-0.377092)), scientific world (0.563325 (neutral:0.000000)), struggles (0.441656 (negative:-0.671012)), women (0.405108 (negative:-0.671012)), afterword (0.386697 (negative:-0.671012)), sexist (0.383828 (negative:-0.608801)), perceptions (0.370000 (negative:-0.516252)), generosity (0.367650 (positive:0.400288)), Watson (0.358142 (negative:-0.608801))

Rosalind Franklin:Person (0.873499 (negative:-0.063400)), Watson:Person (0.281894 (negative:-0.601217)), Bemal:Person (0.277832 (positive:0.268460)), Francis:Person (0.190698 (neutral:0.000000)), King:Person (0.177458 (positive:0.485886))

DNA (0.953384): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
Virus (0.810604): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Rosalind Franklin (0.797248): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Tobacco mosaic virus (0.756799): dbpedia | freebase
X-ray crystallography (0.595473): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Francis Crick (0.550500): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Phosphate (0.542774): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Death (0.516581): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Watson , James D. (2001-06-12), The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA, Touchstone, Retrieved on 2011-08-10
Folksonomies: history science biography